i motorcycled down to cambridgeport this morning to visit client P. one of the interactives was going to a black screen after a period of time. i checked the energy saver settings but they were all fine. i switched the touchscreen monitors as a test to figure out if the problem had something to do with the machine or the display. later during the day i received word that the problem was a defective touchscreen. 

with street cleaning tomorrow, i figured it was better to secure a safe parking spot for my motorcycle now instead of riding it around for the rest of the day. after a simple ham sandwich for lunch, i bicycled to belmont. my mother was the only person home, furiously cleaning up the house before my aunt lili came for a visit around 2:00. my sister was out with hailey to some dog park in brookline she read about online. i helped with the clean up as well, tossing out stuff for trash/recycling tomorrow and putting things in the garage.

my sister gave hailey a bath when they came home. is it normal for labrador mix to shed during the summer? because there was enough dog hair in the bath tub to make everyone rush to the bathroom when we heard my father screaming: there was a hair ball in the drain the size of a large grapefruit. later we took hailey outside and trained her to attack stuffed animals, in the event of a teddy bear assault.

we gave my aunt a tour of the backyard garden before she left. since we don't get many visitors, it was a rare opportunity to show  off some of our hard work. i also dug up a bunch of surplus golden raspberry plants for her to take back home and plant.

we ended up having some barbecue for dinner. instead of the usual barbecue grill, my father elected to use the coleman roadtrip grill LX i brought back to belmont a few weeks ago. one reason was just to try it out for the first time, but also because it had a griddle to cook the meats korean barbecue style.

my sister left to meet a friend after dinner. my mother suggested browsing the web for a picnic table to replace the one we'd lost a few years back due to deterioration. i was thinking we could just build one from scratch, but my parents thought buying one would be easier. i wanted one that had separate benches, but those seem hard to find. we saw one for sale at lowes for $88. the design had attached benches, but it wasn't a deal breaker at such a low price.

despite the fact that it was already 8:00, my parents and i decided to pay lowes a visit, especially after seeing they had them in stock and stores were opened until 10:00. home depot is the predominant home improvement chain in the area, with 3-4 stores within just a few miles from my parents' place. lowes on the other hand are much rarer, with one of the closest stores in woburn more than 13 miles away.

not sure if this is always the case, but the few lowes i've been to have always been bigger than home depot. the selections are the same, just with more variety and sometimes different brands i've never seen before at the more familiar home depot stores.

we immediately saw the picnic table we wanted chained outside the store, but they were already assembled. we were looking for a disassembled version, since that was the only way we could get it back to belmont. from that point on it took us about an hour to finally getting our hands on a picnic table. the first person we talked to said they were on the other side of the store. next person said they were outside. guy outside said they were in the seasonal aisle. man in the seasonal aisle told us gardening department. finally the worker in gardening went searching in the back warehouse, calling on the assistance of a supervisor, then finally the manager, who found the unassembled picnic table kit hidden behind boxes of other merchandise.

the guys helped us load the picnic table kit into the car. unfortunately it was a few inches shy of being able to fit entirely inside the honda element. so we drove back to belmont with the back door opened, with me sitting on some ropes securing the door from flying open.

when we got back home, there was a crazy shuffle of cars out of the driveway so we could put the table inside the garage. i left soon afterwards, with the time approaching 11:00. on my way home, i noticed a police car blocking the intersection of huron avenue and holworthy street. the officer didn't do anything when i went by his vehicle. a short distance later, i saw fire trucks and more cop cars. yellow police tape sectioned off the road, and i noticed what appeared to be a fallen tree. it wasn't even on the road, more like on the sidewalk, but the entire road was closed to traffic nevertheless. a cop waved me off to the side and told me to ride by the footpath along fresh pond and to avoid crossing the police tape. further down, at aberdeen avenue, there was another cruiser. i asked the officer what was happening, and he said a tree had fallen on a car while it was driving by.

as if that wasn't strange enough, while crossing the summit of harvard astrophysics center, i noticed strange pyramidal shapes dotting the empty parking lot. as i got closer, panning with my headlamp, i saw they were rabbits, all just sitting there out in the open. i know there are rabbits living around fresh pond, but i've never seen them this far away, and in a place that's not very suburban. i guess more food for the coyotes that are also reportedly living in cambridge.